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Gary Vaynerchuk started his entrepreneurial career with an online wine store — here's how he plans to turn that experience into a new business

Robbie Deeks, Gary Vaynerchuk, Zubin Mowlavi
  • The serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has started a new e-commerce consultancy, VaynerCommerce.
  • VaynerCommerce lives under his ad holding company, VaynerX, and is directed at digital startups and established consumer-products companies alike.
  • Vaynerchuk says many startups have gone about e-commerce the wrong way and built for short-term sales rather than long-term customer loyalty.
  • It may be a tricky time to start a new business, but Vaynerchuk said the need was greater than ever now that the pandemic is forcing people to do more of their shopping online.
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Gary Vaynerchuk loves to tell his story of being a Belarus-born entrepreneur who bootstrapped his family's wine store into an online wine business, the Wine Library, in 1996.
Now he's trying to parlay that experience into a business helping other companies sell products online.
Vaynerchuk is starting an e-commerce consulting business, VaynerCommerce, after acquiring a 20-year-old Los Angeles-based company in February called Lucid Fusion. VaynerCommerce is a 40-person team in Los Angeles; clients include Mondelez and Flow Hydration. The former Lucid Fusion executives Zubin Mowlavi and Ben Fried lead the company as president and chief technology officer, respectively. Robbie Deeks, a VaynerX employee and Shopify veteran, is the chief commercial officer.
VaynerCommerce is part of Vaynerchuk's ad holding company, VaynerX, which has a variety of services, including social-media advertising, a speakers bureau, and digital media. Its commerce clients include Mondelez and JPMorgan Chase.
VaynerCommerce charges on a per-project basis. Its fees start at $50,000 for a "commerce transformation audit" and go up to $150,000 for a Shopify Plus build and $250,000 for end-to-end growth and tech engagement. Retainers are also available.
To read the entire pitch deck, click here.
Vaynerchuk said he'd been doing e-commerce consulting and saw a need for companies to improve how they sell online. The coronavirus pandemic has made that need more urgent as people stay in and do more of their shopping online.
"We're getting bombarded with requests from companies big and small on how to navigate these waters," he said.

Vaynerchuk says startups that emphasized sales over customer loyalty are in trouble 

Vaynerchuk sees business coming from two places. First, there are direct-to-consumer startups that emphasized short-term sales to justify big rounds of venture-capital funding but have no customer loyalty and now face a dried-up funding market.
"I've been yelling, 'What's going to happen when you can't raise more capital?'" he said. "And we're here."
Then, there are established food and beverage companies like those VaynerX already works with, including Pepsi, that need to figure out how to sell directly to costumers so they aren't entirely dependent on e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart for online sales.
As an example, he said an opportunity for a packaged-goods company to make a direct sale would be if "Smuckers makes a high-end jam that only comes out at Christmas, and you hear about it on the 'Today' show."
Vaynerchuk met Mowlavi, the founder of Lucid, in 2018, and the two hit it off over a breakfast meeting in LA. Lucid sets up online commerce shops for clients like the apparel company Windsor and the streetwear brand The Hundreds. Mowlavi said he and Vaynerchuk started working together and saw the chance to put other parts of VaynerX, like media channels and analytics, to work for clients.
"I realized, if we're going to achieve the level of impact we want, we have to do it at scale across the funnel," Mowlavi said. "What's happening now is many new people are ordering for the first time. They're ordering things they wouldn't have ordered before. I never even thought about buying olive oil online. The DTC brands get that. The large organizations recognize not only is e-commerce a big channel but could be a leading channel going forward."

VaynerX is feeling the pinch of the coronavirus pandemic

It's a tough time to launch a new business. Retailers and direct-to-consumer startups are getting crushed as people stay in and stop spending on nonessentials.
Vaynerchuk said his holding company was somewhat insulated because it's heavy on clients in packaged goods and personal care, sectors that have been relatively protected from the economic downturn.
But the company laid off 2% of its employees earlier this spring in what Vaynerchuk called a restructuring, and he said the impact may not be over.
"In some areas, we were devastated," he said. "We didn't get completely dismantled. But COVID is affecting us, and we will have to do some things. We're too big for the stimulus plan. It's a big challenge for companies in this spot."
Vaynerchuk, who is known as an industry provocateur and self-promoter, will lean on a familiar playbook in advancing his new business.
"Listen, I have some real credibility," he said. "It's a nice thing to walk into a client and say, 'I've been doing this for 24 years.'"
SEE ALSO: How the coronavirus pandemic is impacting buzzy startups, from Peloton to ThirdLove
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* This article was originally published here Press Release Distribution

Source -https://www.businessinsider.com/prime?module=article&area=summary

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